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Biden Officials Applaud Sweden’s NATO Ascension, Promise Ukraine a Path ‘Eventually’

On Tuesday, July 11, 2023 a new member of NATO was welcomed. Sweden has joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a group of countries from Europe and North America that exists to protect the people and territory of its members. Following the ascension of Sweden into NATO, the Biden administration promised Ukraine that one day they will be on the same path. To be welcomed into NATO, new countries need a unanimous vote from all members. 14 months after applying to the alliance, Sweden was granted access by Turkey after months of being blocked by their president. 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken commented on the new addition. “It sends two messages. First of all, our alliance is stronger, it’s bigger with two new members — Finland and now Sweden, and it’s more united than ever. In terms of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, it’s sending a very strong message to Putin that he’s not going to outlast us, he’s not going to outlast Ukraine, and the sooner he ends this war of aggression the better.”

As part of their agreement, Turkish, Swedish and NATO officials explained that Stockholm had changed laws, expanded efforts to counter terrorism against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party and restarted exporting arms to Turkey. Sweden also agreed to present a “roadmap as the basis of its continued fight against terrorism in all its forms” according to a statement from country officials. Included in this deal, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also agreed to create a new post of “Special Coordinator for Counter-Terrorism” at NATO. 

Sweden also has a strong and advanced military that is a welcome help to the alliance, which National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby states is “a big development”. 

Ukraine has long sought to join NATO, with desires only increasing since Russia invaded over 1 year ago. Their requests have been repeatedly shot down by various members, with Biden commenting on the United States’ opinion. He says that he does not think that “there is unanimity in NATO about whether or not to bring Ukraine into the NATO family now, at this moment, in the middle of a war”. However, all hope is not lost. Kirby states that the focus is “making sure they have what they need to be successful on the battlefield” and that “eventually, yes, NATO will be in the forefront… but now is not the time for that”. 

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